Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari – Interview and Giveaway!

Hop on over to Wild Delight to learn about one of my favorite picture books of 2016 and comment to win your own copy!

wild delight

A few months ago I saw someone on Twitter mention an upcoming picture book about coyotes.  Now, anyone who’s heard me talk about my grad school program knows that the intersection of humans and animals (especially apex predators) is a special passion of mine.  I am particularly interested in coyotes because they’ve adapted so well to humans, especially in urban areas.  Last year I was able to hear Dr. Mark Weckel of the Gotham Coyote Project speak and it only further stoked the fires of my interest.  I’ve been lucky enough to see coyotes in my town and last year a few of my students worked with me and my biology colleague to set camera traps on school property in order to see if coyotes were living there. We haven’t seen any coyotes (yet!) but we know there is a good chance they are in the area.  We did…

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The Top Ten Books for Hamilnerds by Sarah Gross, Donalyn Miller, and Melissa Posten

Anyone who has spoken to me in the last 10 months knows I am a #hamilfan (#yayhamlet!). I had so much fun working on this post and I’m grateful to The Nerdy Book Club for letting me help!

Nerdy Book Club

Hamilton: An American Musical has taken the world by storm. Based on Ron Chernow’s 2005 comprehensive biography, Alexander Hamilton, the musical has garnered a Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Album, eleven Tony Awards, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama. Fans of all ages listen to the songs, engage with the cast on social media, and desperately hunt for tickets to the show, which is sold out almost a year in advance.


Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton’s creator, discovered Chernow’s biography while on vacation—launching an obsession for bringing Alexander Hamilton’s story to a broader audience. In 2009, Miranda performed the first song from his new project, The Hamilton Mixtape, at the White House. Miranda spent the next six years composing the score and songs—eventually turning his initial concept album idea into a musical. (To learn more about the creation and production of Hamilton and insider information about every song…

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An Interview with Author Eliot Schrefer!

Be sure to check out my interview with Eliot Schrefer on my interdisciplinary blog.  There’s even a contest to win a copy of RESCUED!  Eliot and I discuss writing, research, our mutual love of the intersection of science and writing, and science in YA books……

They grew up together. Now they have to escape together. Raja has been raised in captivity. Not behind the bars of a zoo, but within the confines of an American home. He was stolen when he was youn…

Source: An Interview with Author Eliot Schrefer!

Why English and Science?

Wild Delight is a blog focused on ways that middle school and high school English teachers can use nature to inspire their students as readers and writers. Nature-deficit disorder is a crisis in ed…

Source: Why English and Science?

Some Poems to Read in Honor of Earth Day

Check out my newest post on Wild Delight, my blog focused on interdisciplinary work between science and English class.

wild delight

Happy Earth Day!  What a great time to share some nature poetry with students, seeing as it is National Poetry Month, too. Below are a few of my favorite nature poems to share with students.

Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight by Jane Hirshfield

This is a new favorite of mine because I’ve spent the last few months researching coyotes and red foxes.  Most recently, I’ve been observing a litter of fox kits near my home and it’s my favorite part of every day.  This poem captures a lot of my feelings as I watch the kits run and play with each other, ever vigilant and alert. Students could read this poem and then talk about the species they’ve noticed in their own neighborhoods.

13055260_702936707849_6328472398421485080_o Photo of my local foxes

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is my favorite poet.  I can sit down and read her poems any time and they make me…

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Book Review: Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv

Below you will find a book review posted on my new blog, Wild Delight.  Wild Delight is my new blog devoted to helping English teachers incorporate nature into their lessons and classrooms.  The blog will include lesson plan ideas, book reviews, author interviews, and much more.  Be sure to subscribe!

Richard Louv is credited with coining the term “nature deficit disorder” and the world became familiar with it in his bestselling book Last Child in the Woods.  This month, Louv release…

Source: Book Review: Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv

Slice of Life #31-Definitely a Fox

Today I drove down to Island Beach State Park to do some birding, enjoy the salt air, and look for a fox. Island Beach State Park is a 10-mile long barrier island preserved as a maritime forest and thicket.

The fox population at Island Beach State Park is habituated to humans because too many people feed them illegally.  However, there’s no predicting when or if you will see them, so I was crossing my fingers when I drove onto the island today.  As soon as you drive in you see signs like the one above.  There’s only one road on the island and it’s surrounded on both sides by dunes and thick thickets.  The foxes live in the thickets and sometimes come out to frolic or hunt during the day.
  Today I was lucky!  About 1.5 miles into my drive I caught a glimpse of a fox along the side of the road.  He or she quickly disappeared into the trees before I could get my camera out but I was still excited. I continued driving and parked at the end of the island.  I ended up hiking almost all of the trails and saw my first yellow-rumped warbler of the year, a northern harrier, and lots of crows and gulls.  In the bay I saw some brant and red-breasted mergansers.

As I drove back towards the entrance this pretty lady trotted out of the thicket.  I pulled over (frowned upon on the island) and snapped a few pictures through the window.  Then I noticed a parking lot a few hundred feet ahead so I pulled into a space and the fox followed me.  I wasn’t sure how she would react if I got out of the car but I figured it was worth a shot.  Well, she was not very worried about me!  She circled me and my car, probably looking for a handout, and came within about 15 feet of me.  I just kept snapping pictures.  After about 5 minutes she realized I wasn’t going to feed her so she trotted off down the road.

  I hiked on the bay side of the island and the ocean side.  It was windy and cold but it was perfect.  I’m a beach girl, born and raised on the shore.  But I hate the beach in the summer.  It’s hot, it’s crowded, and it’s crawling with bugs.  The beach is best experienced during the off-season. By the end of my 2.5 hour tour of the park my lips tasted like salt, my hair was windblown, and my skin was covered with a thin layer of salt.
  The osprey were back and I watched two of them enjoying their lunch on a platform.  They each had a huge fish and spent about 25 minutes ripping it into shreds.  A few other osprey were already sitting on their nesting platforms like the one above.   The tide was coming in by the time I left and this staircase to nowhere on the bay side was one of my favorite places.  The wind was whipping around and the waves were lapping at the bottom step and it was perfect.



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